CONTROVERSIAL coach Lawrence Chongson said parity - or the lack of it - is killing the PBA D-League because officials allow teams like NLEX and Hapee Toothpaste to form 'super teams.'
The Tanduay Light coach said most D-League teams are left to fight for second place because Hapee and, before it, six-time champion NLEX are able to corner the top collegiate and amateur players in the country.
“’Yung labing-isang teams, puwede ng umatras,” said the outspoken coach. “Last year, sinabi ko na nga na puwede na bang ibigay na lang ‘yung trophy sa NLEX tapos kami na lang ang maglaban sa second place. Bakit ang D-League, ina-allow ‘yun?”
Chongson’s tirade came after Tanduay Light lost its first-round draft pick Chris Newsome to Hapee, whose collection of stars have made it the hands-down favorite to rule the Aspirants Cup.
Chongson's team is also involved in a tug-of-war for its 2013 second-round pick Mac Belo, who was named to the lineup of an MJM Builders team backed by Far Eastern University despite having a live contract with Tanduay.
Incidentally, Tanduay’s first game of the conference is against Belo’s MJM Builders on Monday followed by a match Newsome’s Hapee Toothpaste on Thursday. Both games will be held at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The controversial coach said it is precisely the absence of parity that several companies which have joined the D-League ended up leaving it just as quickly.
As a result, the D-League has mostly lured 'fly-by-night' teams this season, he added.
“Katulad ng Hapee, ano ang mapapala ng D-League diyan? Eh ‘yung mga Racal, Wangs, AMA, mga fly-by-night lang ‘yan. Isipin mo, wala pang four years (ang D-League), kaya ko mag-enumerate ng 25 teams na na-disband diyan, sumali at nawala in less than four years, said Chongson.
“Maraming nag-baka sakali, maraming nag-imagine, tapos bumangga ka sa NLEX, umayaw ka na. And Big Chill is the latest casualty,” said Chongson.
Chongson said he has no doubt in his mind that Hapee, in reality, is being ran by the Manny V. Pangilinan group.
“Huwag na silang magtago. Ang Hapee, MVP ‘yan. How could they have gotten (Kirk) Long, (Garvo) Lanete, and (Bobby Ray) Parks? Paano mo napag-buo ‘yung Hapee ng ganun,” said Chongson.
Chongson said he can’t blame players for wanting to join MVP-backed team.
“Kapag naglaro ka sa Hapee, may offer diyan na magiging Gilas ka o Sinag, tatlong teams nasa PBA. Lamang sila sa logistics at makinarya. Kung basketball ang tatakahin mong career, sa Hapee talaga ako. May advantage talaga ang MVP group sa ganun. No offense to him kasi hindi naman niya kasalanan na mayaman siya,” said Chongson.
Chongson, whose team has been involved in amateur basketball for a long time, said the newly instituted rookie draft process has not helped balance the competition in the D-League, citing the case of Newsome.
“Sa PBL, submitting an offer sheet is good enough. That’s the only way you get parity. Isipin mo next year, kapag nagpa-draft si Kiefer Ravena at Jeron Teng, dinraft, let’s say ng Wangs or AMA, dahil siyempre ‘yung mga sikat. Tago na lang ako ng limang araw, ligtas na ako,” said Chongson.